How to get to Chiang Mai?
- Singapore airlines via Singapore
We took SQ to Chiang Mai because we were able to purchase our tickets during their anniversary sale. We flew SQ going to Singapore and Silk Air (which is their subsidiary) to Chiang Mai.
Normal price: Php 20k-50k
Discounted ticket price: Php 10,500
Going to Chiang Mai
MNL to SG: Left at 07:40 am and arrived SG at 11:20am (May 6)
SG to Chiang Mai via Silk Air: Left SG the next day at 9:00am and arrived Chiang Mai at 10:55am (May 7)
Layover time: 21 hours and 30 minutes
Going back to Manila
Chiang Mai to SG: Left at around 6:00pm and arrived SG at 10:00pm (May 9)
SG to Manila: Left SG the next day at 7:25pm and arrived Manila at 11:00pm (May 10)
Layover time: 21 hours
So we spent two days in Singapore and three days in Chiang Mai
Because of the layover time, you have 2 days to explore Singapore. For the ticket price that I got, it was worth it because I was able to go to two countries for only 10,500 pesos. Singapore is a small country thus you will be able to do a lot in 2 days.
SG obviously isn’t really that affordable thus if you are on a budget then you may want to try a different airline because if you take SQ, you really have to spend a night in Singapore. It can be pricey. Also, you have to think of a lot of activities to do to escape boredom.
Tips if you fly SQ:
- If you check in your maleta, you have an option to get it when you land SG or Chiang Mai. I suggest you get it in Chiang Mai so that you don’t need to bring it with you in SG and check it in again. Your hand carry (better if it’s a backpack) should have clothes and other necessities good for 1 night. This way, you can stay in a hostel or in an affordable place.
- Since you will be spending two nights in SG, I suggest you stay in a hostel or AirBnB. This way you get to save money and still be on a budget.
- If you don’t want to spend for lodging at all, you can spend the night in Changi Airport. They have couches and etc.
- There are many things to do in Changi Airport. You can check out the cactus, orchid, and sunflower gardens. You can also take a dip in their Balinese-themed swimming pool, watch a movie in their theater, and even play video games in their entertainment deck. Did you know that they also have a slide? It’s the world’s tallest slide in an Airport! You don’t really have to go out of the airport if you don’t want to.
- Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong
Price: Php 30k-35k
- Cebu Pacific via Singapore
Price: Php 25k-30k
- Thai Airways (Direct)
Price: Php 15k-25k
It’s really pricey to go to Chiang Mai. The best way to score cheap tickets is to wait for the anniversary sale of Singapore airlines which usually happens every February. You’ll get to save a lot of money.
Where to stay in Chiang Mai?
Number of rooms: 2 only however they are renovating and expanding!
Cost: 900 with breakfast baht per night for two people
Address: 114 / 3 – 4 Rachamakka Rd, Phrasingha, Muang, เชียงใหม่ 50200, Thailand
Phone:+66 85 018 7400
Do I recommend it?
Yes! The host was really friendly and she gave us tips on where to go, what to see, and etc. She was kind enough to give our breakfast the night before since we had a full day of tours the next day.
The rooms were really spacious that it can fit 5 people in the room. The bathroom was clean and decent. It also came with basic toiletries which I really didn’t expect.
In terms of location, it’s really near the airport. It took us 15 mins to get there by car. In addition, it’s a 3-5 minute walk to the Sunday market.
The only downside about our experience was that our room was on the top floor thus we had to carry our luggage and climb the stairs. It was really tiring (they need an elevator). Also, the aircon was leaking thus it wasn’t that cold.
Overall, I had a great experience and I recommend this hotel to people who are on a budget. I would rate my experience a 4/5 stars.
The lodging is very affordable in Chiang Mai. I suggest you stay in Elliebum or in a backpacker’s hostel so that you may get tips from fellow travelers and your host. You can also check out AirBnB I saw a lot of cool places. Don’t stay in a fancy hotel because it isn’t worth it since you’ll be out most of the time.
What to do in Chiang Mai?
I only stayed for 2 nights and 3 days but I was able to do the things that I wanted to do.
Tour cost for day 1 and day 2: PHP 3700
- Meo Tribe Village
I was expecting that I would be able to see the tribe and know how they live their lives but instead they brought us to this village full of souvenir shops. It seemed like a tourist trap. I WAS SUPER DISAPPOINTED. It wasn’t worth it!
Do I recommend it? HELL NO. Super not worth it because there isn’t anything to see at all.
- Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple
It was really nice because it was the first time I saw a golden temple.
You will have to ride a cable car going to the temple. It isn’t like the cable car we are used to seeing in Hong Kong or in Tagaytay Highlands. It looked like an elevator to me. Nothing special!
Do I recommend it? Yes. If you like history and going to temples then I highly recommend it.
- Nimmanhaemmin Road
A Street full of coffee shops, bars, shops, etc. I really enjoyed this place because I am a foodie. We ate in a restaurant called Fruiturday for our afternoon snacks.
For dinner, we found this restaurant that really had a long line but I don’t really know what it’s called. It had really good chicken wings.
Do I recommend it? Yes! There’s a lot to see.
Note: Day 1 tour comes with bottled water
Tour cost for day 1 and day 2: PHP 3700
Private Doi Inthanon Full day tour:
- Visited a temple
- Sirithan Waterfall-only for pictures.
- Doi Inthanon
This is the highest mountain in Thailand therefore if you come here during December-February, the weather is cold.
After visiting the highest point, we went to the famous chedies. A lot of tourists visit this place because of the two chedis located here. First the Naphamethinidon which means, “by the strength of the land and air.” Second the Naphaphonphumisiri which means, “being the strength of the air and the grace of the land.” They built these two chedis to honor King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit.When you go inside the chedis, you will see a mural on the ceiling, gold leaves on the walls, and a Buddha statue.
- Thai Lunch
- Village -Nothing much to see! Just indigenous people weaving
- Wachirathan Waterfalls- I had a great time because we were allowed to swim
Do I recommend it? Yes because almost all places were really nice. The only part that I didn’t like was the village because I’ve already been to a silk museum before. Basically, “been there, done that.”
Note: tour comes with bottled water
- We spent 3700 pesos for our tours for day 1-2 and to be honest I found it very pricey. We booked online and I believe it can be more expensive than booking with your hotel, hostel, or guesthouse. If you want to save money, I suggest that you book for the first day only so that you don’t have to worry. Ask your host for tips and suggestions as soon as you arrive so that you may arrange the tours for the succeeding days.
- Rent a van to take you around and make sure you’ve already chosen the places you want to go to. I suggest you search about it in tripadvisor and read the reviews. I wasn’t the one who arranged our tours for day 1 and day 2 but I still researched about it. For day 1, the village had really bad reviews because it seemed like a tourist scam. I definitely agree. You should trust the reviews in tripadvisor because it’s accurate.
- If you are on a budget, you shouldn’t go on a private tour. We went on a private tour for day 2 that’s why we had to pay a bit more. Of course, it had its advantages such as a spacious van, flexible time, and etc. I suggest you join other backpackers so that you can meet new friends and pay less.
Sunday Night Market
I loved the night market because of the wide variety of street food! It was sooooo delicious. You’ll also get to find insects here and other exotic food.
Sunday Night Market tips:
- Try eating exotic food and street food.
- Make sure you haggle! Vendors usually sell the same things thus you have to look for the cheapest one then haggle some more.
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Cost: 1700 (With transpo)
Travel time: 1.5 hours
Tour time: 6:30am-1:00pm (half day)
This was the highlight of my trip. The transfers were already included in the fee. It took us 1.5 hours to get to the camp. It was a bumpy and scary ride but it was so worth it.
Chiang Mai is known for its numerous elephant sanctuaries. There are a lot but I chose this one because we only had half a day to spare. Other sanctuaries offer a full day tour, but if you’re really an elephant lover, you can choose the 1-week tour. Crazy right?
What did we do?
We fed and took a bath with the elephants.
The tour guide also told some rules before the activities, she introduced the elephants, and she explained a bit about their lives. It was really funny when she said that one of them had 5 legs. I actually believed it at first. I thought it was a special elephant however it was a joke. Apparently, one of the elephants was tied up because it had an erection… That’s why the tour guide said it had 5 legs. HAHA
After the activities, we had noodles and fruits for lunch.
Do I recommend it?
Yes! I love animals especially elephants. I had a great time because I was able to touch and bathe with them. It may be gross to some but taking a bath with them was an awesome experience. It’s pricey though for a half day tour but this is what you should experience in Chiang Mai that’s why I did it.
The food that was served wasn’t good because it was instant noodles. For the price that I paid, they should have served real food. This was the only thing that I didn’t like.
Overall I had a great experience. I suggest you do this because like I said, it’s the highlight of my trip. If you’re a germ freak, you may want to skip the mud bath because it’s messy. But still do it because it was really fun!
By the way, they have an official photographer so don’t worry because you’ll be able to get your pictures in their facebook page.
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Tips:
- Bring sunscreen, aqua shoes, extra clothes, and sun glasses
- I wore a bikini when I went however I suggest you wear rash guard and shorts because it can get messy
- Bring your own water
- The bathroom is obviously not nice thus you should do everything before (if you know what I mean)
- Make sure you eat breakfast because the ride is long and you may get really hungry
- There’s an official photographer who will take your pictures therefore I suggest you don’t bring your camera anymore
- The ride going there doesn’t have aircon therefore it’s really hot. Bring a towel or a scarf to cover your face
- Don’t ride a tuktuk because it’s pricier. Ride their jeepney-like transportation. It’s more affordable. Apparently, the tuktuk is a tourist attraction.
- Surprisingly, the streets in Chiang Mai aren’t as busy as Phuket and Bangkok. It’s safe therefore you can rent a motorbike or a bike to go around.
- Visit the Wat Rong Khun temple in Chiang Rai- three hours away from Chiang Mai
- Visit Elephant Nature Park- for those who have a full day or a week to spare
- Always bring USD
- They don’t usually accept credit cards therefore it’s better if you bring a lot of cash. Especially if you want to shop in the Sunday Night Market
|Expenses||Amount in Baht||Amount in Pesos|
|Lodging for 2 nights (Elliebum Guesthouse)||900||1200|
|Day 1-2 Tours||3620|
|Elephant Jungle Sanctuary||1700||2230|
|Transportation (From airport)||300||400|
Note: Singapore expenses for day 1 and day 5 isn’t included here yet. Our tour on day 2 and the elephant jungle sanctuary came with lunch thus we didn’t spend that much money on food. Most of my money went to tours which I found really pricey. Like I said, just rent a car and go to the places you want to visit.